Epis­co­palians ap­prove gay mar­riage

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION - BY BRADY MCCOMBS AND RACHEL ZOLL THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Epis­co­palians voted over­whelm­ingly Wed­nes­day to al­low re­li­gious wed­dings for same-sex cou­ples, so­lid­i­fy­ing the church's em­brace of gay rights that be­gan more than a decade ago with the pi­o­neer­ing elec­tion of the first openly gay bishop.

The vote came in Salt Lake City at the Epis­co­pal Gen­eral Con­ven­tion, just days af­ter the U.S. Supreme Court le­gal­ized gay mar­riage na­tion­wide. It passed in the House of Deputies, the vot­ing body of clergy and lay par­tic­i­pants at the meet­ing. The House of Bish­ops had ap­proved the res­o­lu­tion Tues­day by 129-26 with five ab­stain­ing.

The Very Rev. Brian Baker of Sacra­mento said the church rule change was the re­sult of a nearly four-decade long con­ver­sa­tion that has been dif­fi­cult and painful for many. Baker, chair of the com­mit­tee that crafted the changes, said church mem­bers have not al­ways been kind to one another but that the dy­namic has changed in re­cent decades.

"We have learned to not only care for, but care about one other," Baker said. "That mu­tual care was present in the con­ver­sa­tions we had. Some peo­ple dis­agreed, some peo­ple dis­agreed deeply, but we prayed and we lis­tened and we came up with com­pro­mises that we be­lieve make room and leave no one be­hind."

Baker said the House of Bish­ops prayed and de­bated the is­sue for five hours ear­lier this week be­fore pass­ing it on to the House of Deputies.

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